Analyst Mark Dixon said something in the Baltimore Sun today that we felt warranted a bit more scrutiny. He said, “I think pace of play was really, really good. If you look at the scoring, you had Denver-Duke which was 14-12, and the Bryant-Colgate game was 14-13. So I think the intention of the new rules to increase pace of play has had its desired effect.”
It is true that there were several high-scoring games, but was there more offensive production the first weekend this year compared to last year?
We took a look at the numbers.
Last year there were 14 games the first weekend of lacrosse, with the winners outscoring the losers by an average of 13-8. This year there were 16 games, with the winners outscoring the losers by a score of 14-7. So this year’s winners did slightly better and this year’s losers did slightly worse. Last year’s games were also closer. 53% of first-weekend games in 2012 were decided by 5 goals or less. Only 38% of first-weekend games in 2013 were that close.
Overall, teams combined for an average of 21.19 goals per game in the first weekend of action this year. They averaged 21.21 goals per game last year – essentially dead even.
This is obviously just the first weekend and a small sampling of games. The jury is still out on whether the rules impact pace of play and scoring. But so far in this first weekend the results are in. And they’re inconclusive.